Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lunacy At It's Finest

Lunatic. That is what I would be called if this were a past time. Neurotic. I would also be called neurotic because I am a nervous individual. Insane might also be applied.

I am none of those things. You are none of these things. They are old defunct terms used to describe those that suffered mental illness before there were names for our afflictions. Most likely had I been born before the seventies I would have ended up in an asylum. Many of us would have been admitted. Not that we were a danger to anyone but because the mental health system was a complete failure. Mentally ill people were looked at as a burden, crazy, and possibly dangerous.There were no real treatments. There were no real therapies.

There were many types of mania listed on the old asylum charts from the late 1800's. Chronic mania, furious mania, raving mania are some of the diagnoses. Basically just about anything was termed a mania of some sort. These were the times you could be locked away and never heard from again.

Originally insane asylums were huge cathedral like buildings designed to help the patients recover. They felt that the beauty and three meals a day would help the mentally ill get well. They were under the impression crazy was caused from the environment that the patients lived in or it was a genetic problem.
At some point the asylums were receiving more patients than the walls could hold. Asylums were turned into more of a medical  atmosphere. White coats and straight jackets. White washed walls and sterile needles. It all seriously creeps me out. I do believe that many people thought they were helping. Sadly, some were abusive to the mentally ill patients. Overlooked, ignored, starved, and left to sit in their own waste. Images of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest comes to mind. It is a shameful part of our past.

I can not help but feel sad for the patients that had to endure the torture of asylums. Screams of the ignored and unheard. The pain and experimental procedures preformed on them like guinea pigs is disturbing. It could have been me. It could have been you. It could have been any of us. The thought that boring a whole in someone's brain and damaging the brain matter so the patient will be easier to take care of is insanity at it's finest. Treating people like animals locked in a dingy cage is insanity. To be forced to vomit to expel the demons or bled to drain out in lunacy seems quite insane to me. Being placed in a box with wholes in it and drowned but then revived to stop mental illness seems absolutely crazy. The tranquilizer chair, a restraint chair with a box over your head and forcibly tied down and unable to move is absolute lunacy. Seems to me like the mentally ill were better off being sick at that time rather than tortured by the people that were supposed to help them. And they called  the patients crazy?
 And yet, all of us with mental illness are secretly terrified by the thought of being involuntarily admitted to a psych ward or mental hospital. There are no asylums left, at least not ones run like they once did. Most of them are abandoned and left like ruined tombstones designated for all that have come before us and the horrors they were subjected to. We are no longer butchered and maimed to create the perfect "cure" of our illness. There are rules and regulations. Still, the images we have seen and stories we have heard play in our minds. It is not hard to see why the thought of a mental institution is scary.
I was admitted to a mental ward around the age of ten. It was a fraudulent doctor that scared my parents with lies on my disorder so he could gain insurance money. I had very bad experiences at this place. I have only started recently talking about it because I had repressed the memories, for obvious reasons. I do believe that there are hospitals out there that help us. I believe that many get the help they need in these wards. I also believe that some are run by monsters, like mine was. I have no real point in this post except that we must be vigilant in our own care. We must research the hospitals and wards we go to. We must never forget how the mentally ill were treated before us. We must never allow this to happen again. And if we do find a place that uses the patients as medical guinea pigs, we must stand up and report them. We must stand united and shut these places down. It is hard enough to be mentally ill, we don't need to be abused or experimented on  along with it.
                                                 Neurotic Nelly

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